Some contemporary craft professionals refer to their practice as designer/maker. Eight different models (designer/maker niches) of this approach to practice had been defined by Noris Iaonnou. (1) I like to add an other variation here, with a raised level of information literacy and competency, identifying today’s designer/maker practice. A literacy that goes beyond using email and ordering materials online, it will include administration, development, presentation, promotion and (partly) production of projects.
Much of the Design Arts degree at the Australian National University, School of Art is based on matching changes in craft practice, education and digital technology with the expectation of this contemporary designer/maker model.
The core of any craft practice has to be the skills of the maker in his/her respective field, using traditional processes and materials. If these skills are paired with ‘digital’ competence both hold great potential to inform each other and merge into a contemporary designer/maker practice.
Canberra based jeweler Cinnamon Lee can be seen as an example of this approach. She applies a series of technology based processes together with a high level of manual finishing to make unique rings only possible through the application of high-resolution rapid prototyping together with casting.
(1) Noris Iaonnou, ‘Old paradigms for new: designer-maker models and the dilemma of globalism versus regionalism’. pgs 23 -29
‘Designing Minds – Contemporary issues in craft, design and industry’ Symposium, University of South Australia, 2000